Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff decided to rebuff the invitation last year from Town Council to make a guest appearance and answer questions on Bill 23 and the Greenbelt. It now seems that Regional Council wants to take its turn in having the MPP make an appearance before them to answer questions on the contentious “More Homes Built Faster Act”.
A resolution was passed at Thursday night’s Regional Council meeting to have Chair Bradley invite MPP Oosterhoff to their chambers to answer questions about Bill 23. While the original motion centered more around environmental concerns, it was simplified to the following:
“WHEREAS we recognize the need to problem-solve and create immediate solutions regarding the affordability of homes in the Niagara Region; we also recognize the importance of continuing the work to protect our environment as noted in Niagara’s Official Plan, approved by the Provincial Government and received November 4, 2022;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
1. That Regional Council DIRECT the Regional Chair to invite MPP Sam Oosterhoff to appear before Regional Council to speak to the legislative changes in Bill 23 and provide Regional Councillors the opportunity to ask questions of MPP Sam Oosterhoff regarding the contents of Bill 23.”
The motion passed with a healthy majority, with only Councillors Foster, Gale, Insinna, Junkin, Siscoe, Sorrento and Steele voting against it.
Regional Council also indicated the possibility of a workshop at a later date on Bill 23 based on Oosterhoff’s participation. With that, it should be interesting to watch if the MPP decides to show at Regional Council and talk about his government’s legislation or pulls another no-show.
Here we go again. After Council decided in February 2022 to implement a total ban of the discharge of firearms and bows, other than for farm protection, it would seem that special interest is trying to cajole the new term of Council into catering to their desire to be discharging firearms and bows for sport hunting and other “recreational” purposes.
With the Town moving away from the Committee of the Whole governance system and re-establishing Standing Committees, opportunities have re-opened for residents to be an active part of the municipal decision-making process through committee membership.
The agenda for this Monday’s Committee of the Whole/Council meeting has a letter dated December 19, 2022 from MPP Oosterhoff. In the letter he trumpets the sunshine that Bill 23 and changes to the Greenbelt will mean to Ontarians and Niagara… and says he will not show up at Council, despite the invitation.
With Bill 23 now passed by the Ford Government and having received Royal Assent, the proposed Greenbelt changes have now come into focus. This has spurred calls for the Premier to resign, an MPP launching a complaint to Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner and many calling for a criminal investigation due to the issue not passing the “sniff test”. With media linking possible names and political donations to the PC party, it seemed timely to return to our own local Greenbelt parcel of controversy, 502 Winston Road.
Members of Council got straight to the point on Monday by fast-tracking a motion at the Committee of the Whole inviting our Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff to Council in regards to the proposed Greenbelt changes and the much-panned Bill 23. Like many of us, Members of Council have a whole lot of questions that need to be answered by our Provincial representative.
At the Regional Council meeting on December 1st, a report was put forward by the Region’s Planning Commissioner, Michelle Sergi, stating that her department’s opinion was that they “do not object” to the proposed changes by the Province on the two impacted Greenbelt properties in Grimsby. The report went further to suggest that two additional sites, including the area south of Grimsby’s proposed GO Station, adjacent to the Woodlot, and one in Lincoln (East Prudhomme’s) should be considered for removal from the Greenbelt.
The Town released a media statement today regarding the departure of CAO Harry Schlange. Mr. Schlange will no longer be with the Town as of December 5, 2022 based upon a “mutual agreement” between him and the Town.
This move was not unexpected, given some of the controversies during his tenure in Grimsby and the common “shuffling of the CAO deck” by new terms of Councils in the province.
The Director of Legislative Services/Municipal Clerk, Ms. Sarah Kim, will fill the role as Acting CAO in the interim.
With Monday night’s Special Council initially scheduled to address the proposed Greenbelt changes in Grimsby, including a Specialty Crop area on the lakeshore and another parcel near Main Street West, things took a different turn with the Provincial government “plowing ahead” and passing Bill 23 on Monday morning.
Tuesday morning’s Question Period at Queen’s Park had an interesting exchange between Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch and Ontario’s Associate Minister of Housing, Michael Parsa. Burch makes some great points about the Greenbelt, existing land for development and included a glimpse into the “coincidences” of Greenbelt-owning land developers also being generous with donations to the PC party.
Representing the citizens of Grimsby to ensure that the Town’s planning for intensification results in responsible growth while preserving the majesty of the escarpment and natural areas, the Lake Ontario waterfront, the small town charm, character and history, and the friendly nature of its people.
Bringing the citizens of Grimsby and its elected town council together to foster responsible growth and good planning to make Grimsby a leading community of modern small town living.